Whistleblowers disadvantaged by new "severe misconduct" addition to NJ statutes
by Norma R
(New Jersey )
Six hours after objecting to an employee's violation of a state regulation in an e-mail to management (I was a compliance officer for a private company)I was fired..reason given...the e-mail I authored 6 hours ago. It's bad enough to be fired for doing your job, trying to protect the employee and your company, but the salt on my wound...being denied unemployment for ?severe? misconduct connected with my work.
Now really Mr. Claim's examiner...did you really think the company representative was going to admit my termination was related to my objection to my perception of the company's violation of an established state regulation? Is it more likely they will make up other reasons to terminate an at will employee to cover up their wrong doing? Claimants with allegations of whistle blowing should be given the benefit of the doubt and benefits paid...I have an employment attorney but he doesn't do UNemployment law if that makes any sense.
I fear disclosing the proof I was fired in retaliation to for my objection (whistle blowing) to the claim's examiner or an Appeal Tribune I could hinder my civil action.
In closing..as soon as the claimant asserts they believe they were fired in retaliation for reporting or objecting to a company's violation; their claim should be approved, pending further investigation if need be. If and
when I recover in civil court I have to repay any benefits paid, why then should a claimant have to fight for their benefits too? The State is just trying to save money by adding this new catch all term and denying claims as they are presented. There is no protection for the employee who believes they did the right thing by reporting and objecting to the violation.
You go Norma .. in case anyone else in New Jersey or any other stat is wondering about "severe misconduct" ..
It is something NJ added to their statutes in July 2010
Severe misconduct also carries a stiffer disqualification the "regular misconduct", but I'm a little confused myself .. because NJ now has three levels of misconduct .. regular, severe and gross.
What confuses me is the difference between simple misconduct and severe.
Well here's what I think .. up until July of 2010 .. New Jersey had one of the highest unemployment recipiency rates in the country .. the only way for them to change this was to alter the misconduct rules.
Reasonably .. if someone is guilty of misconduct .. it should be severe .. or what most states just call "misconduct".
Clearly, Norma .. you have to appeal .. because misconduct is the burden the employer must prove .. not you.